Introspection (Svadhyaya of the Niyamas)
Introspection is the examination of one's own conscious thoughts and feelings. It is known for its role in epistemology. In this context introspection is often compared with perception, reason, memory, and testimony as a source of knowledge.
It consists of
Self-Analysis and Self-Disciplin
Knowledge of one's self and self-control
It improves the inner balance and is the key to the true conscience.
Already Plato asked in his Theaetetus : “Why should we not calmly and patiently review our own thoughts, and thoroughly examine and see what these appearances in us really are?"
Introspection (in Ashtanga-Yoga: Svadhyaya, in Jainism pratikraman) means self-exploration, self-observation, conscious observation of one's own experience (e.g. thoughts, feelings) and behavior. Consistently developed, it leads to self-analysis and self-discipline and to true self-knowledge and self-control.. The average person has the attitude here: If I change my behavior, it must do me as much as possible.
Sri Aurobindo: "A goalless life is a miserable life. The nature and value of the goal also depends on the value of life. The goal of a spiritually oriented life should be high and wide, noble and altruistic, making life personal and for All becomes precious. Perfection can only be realized through perfection within.
The first step is to become aware of yourself, ie. the different sides of one's own being and their modes of action, the drives and reactions and opposing volitional tendencies that drive action. This requires great sincerity and perseverance. Human nature has a very spontaneous tendency to give a favorable interpretation to everything he thinks, feels and speaks.
Human nature has a spontaneous tendency to give a favorable interpretation to everything one thinks, feels and says. Apart from the work of purification and synthesis should the outer part of the person be perfected ....." (see further: Aurobindo, Bulletin of Physical Education II, 1950, 4 vol III, 1951 No.1-4; Band IV 1952)
Education is nowadays a formative process of adaptation to the environment and society, combined with an education that leads not to an integral person but to a i-oriented entity. Even a higher order of values is not generally recognized and does not lead to success. There are also links with the physical and vital orientation and with the state of Soul before rebirth on this negative planet.
True human education is the science of life. Therefore education should already begin before the birth of the child(selfperfection of the parents) and continue during the whole life. The nature of the child depens very much upon the mother who forms it, upon her aspiration and her will and her ideals, and of course upon the harmony of the world in which the child grows up.
The human education is fivefolded :
1. Education of the body (hygiene, nutrition, personal hygiene of the body)
2. Education of the vital body(evolvement und utilization of the sensory organs; evolvement of the personal character und its awareness and transformation.
3. Education of the Mind (conzentration and ability of attention; evolvement of the abilities of expansion, complexity and comprehensiveness; organisation of the ideas around a central idea , a higher ideal, as a lodestar for the life; control of the mind and rejection of unwanted thoughts for the purpose of to think waht one wants; evolvement of the mental silence, of the complete inner silence and of an extensive receptivity for inspirations from these regions of the being.)
4.Education of the psyche (truthfulness of the individual entity as one of the unique but uncountable revealed possibilities of the universal consciousness ; awareness and surrender of the personal will)
5. Spiritual Education(with the perfect devotion of the personal ego to the highest being as most important startingpoint and as the safest method).
6. As gnostic-divine method on the basis of the former steps the supramental transformation with divine forces, the total Transfiguration of the Natur, which will at a given time lead to a divine group of mankind on earth.
Further in "Sri Aurobindo : Bulletin of Physical Education : II 1950,Nr.4 book II; 1951 Nr. 1-4 and book IV, 1952 Nr.1" (PDF)
== The problem of Ethics ==
Ethics : In most religions and in many esoteric traditions we find moralic rules and bids:
In many religions and occult and spiritual disciplines, great importance is attached to observance of moral rules and commandments, such as the well-known ten commandments of the Bible, which for the initiate are related to the 10 Kabbalistic Sephiroth (Qlippoth).
Even with Aristotle, important virtues are prudence (phronesis), justice (dikaiosyne), bravery (andreia), moderation (sophrosyne), generosity (eleutheriotes), helpfulness (megaloprepeia), greatness of soul (megalopsychia), meekness (praotes), truthfulness , Courtesy (eutrapelia) and empathy (philia). According to Aristotle, the highest happiness is achieved through the virtue of wisdom (sophia).
Ethics in Buddhism is traditionally based on the five Silas and Paramitas - to avoid the Tanhas and the Kleshas. As premise the five Shilas named (not to kill, not to steal, not to live unchaste, not to lie, no consumption of intoxicant drinks).
Elsewhere is spoken (Anguttara) of the 10 unhealthful acts, which should be avoided (Murder, thievery, formication, lie, inveigh, defamation, uninterrupted gossip, desire, bad intention, misbelief).
In contrary to the older scriptures the newer scriptures of Vajrayana deal relatively sparse with moral prescriptions, partial because the "Secret Teaching" presumes the "Open Teaching". Often is explicit pointed out to the moral precsriptions of the small and of the big vehicle. But the disciple receives during the initiation of Anuttarayoga-Tantra lists of Samayas.
The Mahayana buddhist virtues or Paramitas are often looked at as self evidently, just as in other religions, and so Buddha can serve as the supplier of an exotic halo for modern 'seekers'.
The path of the Bodhisattva is the path of virtue. The attributes of a bodhisattwa are : Generosity, ethics, patience, persistence, energy, meditation and wisdom. His virtues are love (Maitri) and compassion (Karuna), which have their background in the transcended limitations of the EGO and in the power of the enlightened energies which have transformed and developed him.
The Prajñapāramitā - sūtras and a great number of other Mahāyāna texts list these six perfections: generosity (dāna), morality (śīla), patience (kṣānti), vigor (vīrya), concentration (dhyāna), and wisdom (prajñā). The four inner maras are :
- the mara of the aggregates (Skt. Skhanda mara), which symbolizes our clinging to forms, feelings, perceptions, volition and consciousnessas as real
- the mara of the disturbing emotions (Skt. Klesha mara), which symbolizes our addiction to habitual patterns of negative emotion
- the mara of the Lord of Death (Skt. Mrtyu mara), which symbolizes both death itself, which cuts short our precious human birth, and also our fear of change, impermanence, and death
- the mara of the son of the gods (Skt. Devaputra mara), which symbolizes our craving for pleasure, convenience, and ‘peace’.
If you give up correct behavior in favor of sight, then you will fall under the influence of negligence, such as maras and rudras, and from your dependence on the activities of the cycle of existence there will arise a great stream of negative deeds in a wrong sight towards the three Jewels and result in disregard for the moral consequences of your deeds. (from the Nelug Rangjung - Terma by Dudjom Lingpa, 1835-1904)
* Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Chögyam Trungpa, Shambhala; Revised ed. Edition 2002, ISBN-10 : 1570629579, ISBN-13 : 978-1570629570
Daoism : The three Jewels of Taoism to be sought are compassion, moderation and humility. The Quanshan shu (quanshan shu, Ch'üan-shan shu, books of moral stories) are a special genre of daoist moral manuals.
In Sant Mat is a kind of diary with selfanalysis a part of the daily sadhana.
Sikhism warns before the five major weaknesses of the human personality at variance with its spiritual essence.
This often displeasing and uncomfortable disciplin (Tapasya) has the background in the polarity of creation and in the fact that the energy behind the lower planes of creation is MAYA - which is unperfect, blinding and destructiv. Therefore the scools of the "black path" teach that there is no real good or evil.
But creativity and destruction or dissolution can also be found in the highest worlds. MAYA is only the material higher etheric force - unfortunately with additional attributes like "DESTRUCTIVE ANGER" and DELUSION.
Practically this disciplin (introspection) can be done after looking at the positive and the negative aspects of the "4 elements" or looking at the positive and negative effects of the "7 rays". The Trimurti contain the four spiritual Elements and the emptyness of akasha above. The rays are combinations of the three forces.
Even in the Advaita-Teachings of Shankara can these four elements be found. Above them is AKASHA, and above all are Brahman and Parabrahman.
Even modern psychology knew the four elements as the four main types of man : (Choleric, Sanguinic, Melancholic und Phlegmatic) and has put this teaching aside now. In buddhism these four elements are symbolized by the STUPAS with the flame of akasha - which come from a time before buddha Gautama, with the syllables Kha , Ra , Ha , Wa und A.
Ashtanga Yoga and Hinduism
Traditionally a guru only accepted disciples which had reached step 6 of the Universal PATH.
The first two steps of Ashtanga - Yoga are Yama and Niyama (with Svadhyaya or Self-exploration ). They contain besides bids and rules mantric exercises (mala), which have the purpose to clean and open the body and soul for higher forces and to remove primitive und very negative energies and elements - the beginning of a process of sincerity.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika mentions these rules in 'Asanas 16,17'.
The process of the 22 steps can and has been looked at as a process of cycles of the four elements or of cycles of the 7 rays ( 7 planets ).
These rays and elements have a polarity (also our material light has an electromagnetic polarity ) , and therefore they have creative and destructive aspects independend from the destructive characteristics, as Maya (Mula Prakriti) is the essence of the material worlds.
In the occult scriptures live "devas" and "asuras", who live from and are able to use these forces, and many other beings exist in the other planes. But in this context we only look at the unpersonal attributes and qualities.
Hinduism symbolizes the evil as qualities of Adharma and his kinship.
In the Vishnu Purana 1.7, the Prajāpati-Brahma son Adharma, born of Brahma's back, is considered a destroyer of beings. Hiṅsā (violence) is his wife, anṛta (falsehood) is his son, nikṛti (deceit) is his daughter. Māyā (delusion), Bhaya (fear), Vedanā (torment), naraka (hell), Duhkha (care) and Mṛtyu (death) are the other children in this line.
In the Bhagavata Purana, Adharma is the husband of Mrishá (falsehood) and father of Dambha (hypocrisy) and Máyá (delusion) who were adopted by Nirritti (Hindu god of misery). His three main features were pride, luxury and drunkenness. There were 5 branches: Vidharma, Paradharma, ābhāsa, Upamā and chala.
Here a short translated extract from Franz Bardon : Initiation into Hermetics ; A Course of Instruction of Magic Theory and Practice (Brotherhood of life), pg. 37 etc.
These four elements determine man's temper. In the active form the element owns the good properties, and in its passive form, the contrary or the bad qualities :
The chloric temper, in its active polarity, has the following good qualities : activity, enthusiasm, eagerness, resolution, courage, productivity, etc. In the negative form these qualities are : glutonny, jealosy, passion, irritability, intemperance, bent to destruction, etc.
The sanguine temper in its active form shows : capacity of penetrating, diligence, joy, adroitness, kindness, clearness, lack of grief, cheerfulness, optimism, eagerness, independence, familiarity, etc. In the negative form : continual feeling of being affronted, contempt, propensity to gossiping, lack of endurance, slyness, garrulosity, dishonesty, fickleness, etc.
The melancholic temper in its active form : respectability, modesty, compassion, devotion, seriousness, docility, fervour, cordiality, comprehension, meditation, calmness, quick to give one's confidence, forgiveness, tenderness a.s.o. In the negative form : indifference, depression, apathy, shyness, laziness, etc.
The phlegmatic temper in its active form : respectability, reputation, endurance, consideration, resolution, firmness, seriousness, scrupulousness, thoroughness, concentration, sobriety, punctuality, reservedness, objectivity, infallibility, responsibility, reliability, circumspection, resistance, self assurance and so on. In the negative form : insipidity, unscrupulousness, misanthrophy, dullness, tardiness, laziness, unreliability, laconism and so on.
The qualities of the temperaments, according to the preponderant quality, form the basis of the human character.
There are three ways to establish the inner balance :
- 1. Auto-suggestion
- 2. Transmutation, evtl. by additional Mantrams as in Raja-Yoga, or the C.R. Formula of the Fama Fraternitatis etc.
- 3. Attention , will-power
Step 1 - Psychic Training - Self-Knowledge or Introspection
In our mansion, that is to say, our body, we must at very moment find our way about. Our first task, therefore, is to know ourselves. Every initiation system, no matter what kind, will put this in the first place. Without self-knowledge, there will be no real development on a higher level.
In the first days of psychic training, let us first deal with the practical part of introspection. Arrange for a magical diary and enter all the bad sides of your soul into it. The diary is for your own use only, and must not to be shown to anyone else. This is the control-book for you. In the self-control of your failures, habits, passions, instincts and other ugly character traits, you must observe a hard and severe attitude towards yourself. Be merciless towards yourself and do not embellish your failures and deficiencies. Think about yourself in quiet meditation. Put yourself back into different situations in the past. Remember how you behaved then and which mistakes and failures occured in the various situations. Make note of all.....
"To the adept who has reached the magic balance reveals the akasha", Franz Bardon.
Arcan - scool of Alice Bailey
"Transmutation" is the modification and diversion of the energies of the mind, of the energies of the emotions and the energies of the physical natur, so that they serve the revealation of the true self and not only the relevation of the psychic and bodily nature.
We know that we have five main instincts, which we have common with all animals. If these instincts are used for selfish and personal purposes then they enhance the bodily life, fortify the form-nature or the material nature and contribute more and more to the starve of the self, the spiritual man. Therefore they must be transformed into their higher correspondences, because every animal characteristic has a spiritual arable :
1. The instinkt of self-preservation must finally yield the recognition of immortability, because man will once in "dwelling in the eternal" inhabit the earth and fulfill his destination.
2. The instinct, which induces the "lower self" to press forward and to force its way to the top, will later change into the dominance of the higher or spiritual self. The EGO, the self - esteem, of the small or lower self will yield for the higher self.
3. Sexuality, as an animalic and all animal forms powerful dominating instinct, will yield for a higher attraction and will in its highest form bring about the conscious attraction and unification of the spiritual soul (paramatma) and its instrument (jiva), whereas the
4. HERD-INSTINCT will be transformed into group-consciousness.
5. A fifth INSTINCT, the urge to ask and to research , the hallmark of all thinkers on high or low levels, will yield the intuitiv perception and wisdom.
So the big work(the "Opus Magnum") will be lead to its perfection , and the spiritual man will reign his creation, the human being, and levy its attributes and characteristics into heaven. (A.A.Bailey : From intellect to intuition , chapter 4, p. 73)
* An analysis after the scheme of the 7 rays leads to similar results. These rays are symbolic represented by the seven planets.
Alice A. Bailey : A treatise on the 7 rays II (Esoteric Psychology II) (page 55-65)
The individualized spirit expresses itself through the various ray types in the following manner:
Ray One Dynamic one-pointedness, Destructive energy, Power realized selfishly, Lovelessness, Isolation,  A longing for power and authority, Desire to dominate, Expressed strength and self-will,
A dynamic use of energy for the furtherance of the Plan; The use of destructive forces in order to prepare the way for the Builders; The will to power in order to cooperate; Power realized as the major weapon of love; Identification with the rhythm of the Whole; The cessation of isolation.
Ray Two The power to build for selfish ends, Capacity to sense the Whole and to remain apart, The cultivation of a separative spirit, The hidden light, The realization of selfish desire, Longing for material well-being, Selfishness, and subordination of all soul powers to this end,
Building wisely, in relation to the Plan; Inclusiveness; A longing for wisdom and truth; Sensitivity to the Whole; Renunciation of the great heresy of separativeness; The revelation of the light; True illumination; Right speech through generated wisdom.
Ray Three Force manipulation through selfish desire, Intelligent use of force with wrong motive, Intense material and mental activity, The realization of energy as an end in itself, Longing for glory, beauty and for material objectives, Submergence in illusion, glamor, and maya, 
The manipulation of energy in order to reveal beauty and truth; The use of forces intelligently for the furtherance of the Plan; Ordered rhythmic activity in cooperation with the Whole; Desire for right revelation of divinity and light; Adherence to right action; The revelation of glory and good will.
Ray Seven Black magic, or the use of magical powers for selfish ends, The power to "sit upon the fence" till the selfish values emerge, Disorder and chaos, through misunderstanding of the Plan, The wrong use of speech to bring about chosen objectives, Untruth, Sex magic. The selfish perversion of soul powers,
White magic, the use of soul powers for spiritual ends; The identification of oneself with reality; Right order through right magic; Power to cooperate with the Whole; Understanding of the Plan; The magical work of interpretation; Manifestation of divinity.
Another problem of introspection is glamour, which the seeker fiirst leaves behind completely after the fourth initiation, ie. astral delusion, mental illusions and MAYA.
Following small extracts from Alice A. Bailey : Glamour - a world problem
(page 34) What i have to say about delusion can be divided into three chapters :
- 1. The nature of delusion
- 2. The cause of delusion
- 3. The dispersal of delusion
(Page 65...): The 7 rules and the 6 rules of the path:
The Six Rules of the Path (Rules of the Road)
- 1.The Road is trodden in the full light of day, thrown upon the Path by Those Who know and lead. Naught can then be hidden, and at each turn, a man must face himself.
- 2.Upon the Road the hidden stands revealed. Each sees and knows the villainy of each. (I can find no other word, my brother, to translate the ancient word which designates the unrevealed stupidity, the vileness and crass ignorance, and the self-interest which are distinguishing characteristics of the average aspirant.) And yet there is, with that great revelation, no turning back, no spurning of  each other, and no shakiness upon the Road. The Road goes forward into day.
- 3.Upon that Road one wanders not alone. There is no rush, no hurry. And yet there is no time to lose. Each Pilgrim, knowing this, presses his footsteps forward, and finds himself surrounded by his fellowmen. Some move ahead; he follows after. Some move behind; he sets the pace. He travels not alone.
- 4. Three things the Pilgrim must avoid. The wearing of a hood, the veil which hides his face from others; the carrying of a water pot which only holds enough for his own wants; the shouldering of a staff without a crook to hold.
- 5. Each Pilgrim on the Road must carry with him what he needs: a pot of fire, to warm his fellowmen; a lamp, to cast its rays upon his heart and shew his fellowmen the nature of his hidden life; a purse of gold, which he scatters not upon the Road but shares with others; a sealed vase, wherein he carries all his aspiration to cast before the feet of Him Who waits to greet him at the gate - a sealed vase.
- 6.The Pilgrim, as he walks upon the Road, must have the open ear, the giving hand, the silent tongue, the chastened heart, the golden voice, the rapid
6. The pilgrim must have the open ear during his hike, the giving hand, the closemouthed tongue, the cleaned heart, the golden voice, the the streaming river and the open eye, which sees the light. He knows that he does not wander alone.
.....The quality of the astral plane, the main characteristic, is delusion.
(page 138) : With this we come back to the view of the many delusions, which are caused by certain sorts of rays or stand in realtion to these.
Further in : Esoteric Psychology I - Section Two - I. The Seven Creative Builders, the Seven Rays
Not to observe these positiv and negativ attributes hinders the progress and leads in our world mostly on the black path with its false aspiration. Spiritual techniques of the "path of (divine) light" or of the true sabda would not need these disciplines but they need a special spiritual environment and a clean basis and lifestyle.
It can be very dangerous to trust in the power of the "good from above" because the light of the "holy spirit" withdraws from the primitive planes which are dissimilar to its nature. This would be a basis not to see the personal mistakes und to oust them.
Until the fourth initiation exists the danger of drifting on the black path. Examples are those black masters who came out of well known scools und lived at the feet of their gurus who accelerated their developement and made it too easy for the disciple, so that the disciple did not have to overcome his "lower self" and failed at this point (a real master should see, who his disciple is and should not have such disciples ...but there was Jesus with Judas etc !).
The true divine man is the master of the 5th initiation(U. Path. step 20 and 21) :
"For in all he sees two things, the Divine inhabiting every being equally, the varying manifestation unequal only in its temporary circumstances. In the animal and man, in the dog, the unclean outcast und the learned and virtuous Brahmin, in the saint and the sinner, in the indifferent and the friendly and the hostile, in those who love him and benefit and those who hate him and afflict, he sees himself, he sees God and has at heart for all the same equal kindness, the same divine affection. Circumstances may determine the outward clasp or the outward conflict, but can never effect his equal exe, his open heart, his inner embrace of all. And in all his actions there will be the same principle of soul, a perfect quality, and the same principle of work, the will of the Divine in him active for the need of the race in its gradually developing advance towards the Godhead. (Sri Aurobindo : Essays on the Gita, page 174)
Who knows others is a prudent.
who knows himself is wise.
who defeats others has strenght.
Who defeats himself is strong. (Lao-Tse)
== Literature ==
- Hindu ethics , Coward - Lipner - Young, 1988 Sunny Press, ISBN10: 0-88706-763-8
- Hindu etics. - a historical and critical essay by John McKebzie, M.A. Wilson college Bombay
- Principles of Hindu Ethics, Maganlal A Buch M. A
- A Manual of Self Unfoldment , Swami, Chinmayananda , ISBN: 9788175971936
- A history of introspection - EDWIN G. BORING
== Weblinks ==
- A Wiki about Introspection
- A Wiki about virtue ethics
- A Wiki about buddhist ethics
- Religious ethics
- Niti and Niyama - the morality and ethics of Hinduism
- Introspection in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy